Alabama Boating Fatalities Approaching Highest Number in 20 Years
ALABAMA – According to an online news report from whnt.com, boating fatalities in the state of Alabama are approaching their highest numbers in more than 20 years. Authorities believe a few circumstances might be contributing to the increase in boating deaths and are urging people to use caution during their water outings.*
The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency says that 68 boating accidents and 25 boating fatalities have happened on Alabama waterways so far in 2019. Six people have lost their lives in boating accidents in the state just in July. At this rate, Alabama is approaching a record-breaking number of boating fatalities. In 2018, 75 boating crashes occurred in the state, leading to 17 boating deaths. The last time boating fatalities in Alabama were as high as they might be in 2019 was in 1998, when 32 people died in boating collisions.
The state holds many attractive places to engage in water activities, and people need to use their best judgment when out on boats, authorities say. Alabama Marine Police Sgt. Chad Pate said that the most common element police have seen in fatal boating accidents in the state is “operator inattention.” He explained that this means the person driving the boat is not paying attention to his or her surroundings. The risk of a crash — and the importance of staying attentive — increases at night, Pate said.
“Operating at night is a thing if you are not very experienced at it, can be a very dangerous environment,” he said. “Even for an experienced person, that can be a dangerous environment if you’re not properly paying attention.”
Another factor involved in too many boating accidents, authorities say, is alcohol. Boaters need to always designate a sober boating operator, Pate said, and make sure that that person does not have any alcohol the entire time that everyone is boating.
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